If you’re anything like me then, at the end of a long, hard day, all you’ll want to do is sit down with a light-hearted game and relax. As part of Steam Next Fest, I had the wonderful pleasure of playing the Grapple Dog demo which certainly fits the bill.
Grapple Dog is a unique 2D action-platformer where you take control of an adorable, little dog called Pablo. You’ll traverse several worlds, meet lots of fabulous characters, and attempt to stop the terrible robotic overlord, Nul, from destroying the world.
With manoeuvres that reminded me of the platforming elements of Hollow Knight, Grapple Dog’s main focus is on using your trusty grappling hook to jump, swing, and whizz through the levels. The full game will include 6 colourful worlds, comprising 33 levels to complete. They’ll include collectables to find, secret areas to investigate, and spectacular bosses to overcome.
“It’s clear that Joseph Gribbin, who almost single-handedly developed Grapple Dog, has put a lot of thought into his creation”
What I first noticed about Grapple Dog was its atmosphere. Intentionally light-hearted, developer Joseph Gribbin has perfected his pixel-art graphic style for a great experience. The bright colours and quirky designs all add up to a wonderfully gentle world to be in.
I also enjoyed the variety of fun characters Pablo meets and the humorous dialogue that passes between them. It’s clear that Gribbin, who almost single-handedly developed this game, has put a lot of thought into his creation.
“The great backing track perfectly sums up the upbeat style of the game”
Additionally, the music score is unbelievably fun! Jazz Mickle, who created the music, and Damion Sheppard, who oversaw the sound design, have created a great backing track that perfectly sums up the upbeat style of the game. After some time, I found myself humming along, it’s so catchy!
“I felt a bit lost and unsure of what my goals were”
Admittedly, platformers aren’t usually for me, so it would be quite easy for me to rate the actual gameplay poorly; however, as a platformer, I think Grapple Dog, does the genre justice. The traversing of the levels is complicated but intuitive, and the controls are minimalistic and easy to learn.
If I had to criticise something about Grapple Dog, it would be the jump from the tutorial to the main levels. The tutorial is a very gentle introduction to the game, it shows us who we’re playing and how to play, with very little clutter on-screen. Then, jumping into level 1-1, all the slow introduction is gone. I felt a bit lost and unsure of what my goals were, where I was meant to go, and what all the items and collectables on the screen meant to me.
“Ultimately, Grapple Dog looks likely to be a great game”
All things said and done, I would say Grapple Dog looks likely to be a great game. The demo is available now as part of Steam Next Fest, and it includes levels 1-1, 1-3, 3-4, and a boss to fight.
Additionally, for the week of Steam Next Fest, the developer is running a competition: simply get the fastest completion time for level 1-3 and you could see your name in the game or win fabulous prizes! Their full competition details are here.
Be sure to head on over to Grapple Dog‘s Steam store page to try the demo out for yourself. You can also wishlist it on Steam to be notified of any future updates. And if you’re itching for more demo reviews, check out our other coverage of the exciting Steam Next Fest, like our review of the Mahokenshi demo!